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women will have healthier ones. Those who select mates with these qualities will transmit them to ensuing generations, along with other qualities affecting offspring survival. Ridley contends--not a popular thesis in recent decades--that such genetic programming is far more central to human nature than social conditioning. Extensively researched, clearly written: one of the best introductions to its fascinating and controversial subject.”


Robots: Bringing Intelligent Machines to Life? By Ruth Aylett. “Although robots are inherently mechanical things, Aylett explains that researchers find themselves drawing on nature’s own biomechanical innovations to change the way robots move, sense their environments, think, learn, and make decisions. She explains this through illustrated two-page spreads, each devoted to a robotics topic—such as smelling the world or determining locatioins. She also discusses obstacles confronting the robotics community, including the need for better energy sources and the fears that robots will supercede people.” (Barron’s, 144 pp, 2002) (JHS – adult.)


The Secret Garden: Dawn to Dusk in the Astonishing Hidden World of the Garden. By David Bodanis.  (Simon & Schuster, 187 pp, 1992) GFBR*****. General audiences. The author “guides us through the terrain of the familiar yet unseen world around us and brilliantly transforms it. Written with the same witty style that The Washington Post called ‘marvelously captivating’ and illustrated throughout with state-of-the-art microphotographs, The Secret Garden is an astonishing book that will fascinate and delight anyone who has ever set foot in a garden.”.


The Secret House: Twenty-Four Hours in the Strange and Unexpected World in Which We Spend Our Nights and Days. By David Bodanis (Simon & Schuster, 224 pp, 1986) GFBR*****. General Audiences. A fascinating look at how a house creaks and breathes, the lives of the dust mites that eat the skin that flakes off your body, and other things you never, ever thought about, inside your house or apartment.


Sensory Exotica: A World Beyond Human Experience. By Howard C. Hughes. (MIT Press, 344 pp, 1999) General audiences. “Can a dog sense in advance that its owner is about to have an epileptic seizure? A dog described in a recent news report does that, evidently by detecting certain chemicals associated with the onset of a seizure. It is an example of a sensory capability beyond the human range. Many animals can sense things that people are unaware of or sense weakly. Such animals are the subject of the story recounted by Hughes, who is a professor of psychology at Dartmouth College. He describes sonar in bats and dolphins, biological compasses (based on the sun or stars or geomagnetism) in birds and insects, electricity sensing in fish, and pheromones (chemical signals) in insects and apparently in people. And he takes pains to pin down the mechanism of the sensory capability in each case. "We don't yet have all the answers," he says, "but at least we are learning how to ask the right questions."


The Victorian Internet : The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers   By Tom Standage. (Walker, 227 pp, 1998) General audience. “Imagine an almost instantaneous communication system that would allow people and governments all over the world to send and receive messages about politics, war, illness, and family events. The government has tried and failed to control it, and its revolutionary nature is trumpeted loudly by its backers. The Internet? Nope, the humble telegraph fit this bill way back in the 1800s. The parallels between the now-ubiquitous Internet and the telegraph are amazing, offering insight into the ways new technologies can change the very fabric of society within a single generation. In The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage examines the history of the telegraph, beginning with a horrifically funny story of a mile-long line of monks holding a wire and getting simultaneous shocks in the interest of investigating electricity, and ending with the advent of the telephone. All the early "online" pioneers are here: Samuel Morse, Thomas Edison, and a seemingly endless parade of code-makers, entrepreneurs, and spies who helped

Science and Math Books You Can Read – page 29 out of 30

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